7 Secrets of Successful Marketing to Women


You’ve read Marti Barletta’s Top 10 Surprises when it comes to marketing to women in TCW’s May issue. Here, she offers 7 Secrets to marketing to the biggest decision makers in consumer/business spending…

1. Women don’t want ‘a league of their own.’ Painting your brand pink is a good way to give your business the blues. Unless there’s some particular functionality involved, women don’t want ‘special products for women.’

2. What will make your brand different are secondary features. Face it, all your direct competitors offer the same primary features. Otherwise, by definition, they wouldn’t be your competitors. While men will often stop shopping with the first option that meets their primary needs – say a hotel in midtown Manhattan for $400/night – women will look for the best hotel for $400. That means they’ll make a ‘short list’ and look into a longer list of features like free breakfast/Internet, a great workout center. In other words, women actually care about features that set you apart from competitors.

3. Marketing to women is about getting more than your fair share. Because women already buy most of almost everything, you’re rarely going to get them to buy ‘more’ cars, computers and consumer electronics than they buy now. Your job is to get more of them to choose your brand. The key is connection and alignment. Alignment with the way women live, shop and choose brands – all quite different from men and from the ‘average consumer.’

4. Because they have a longer list, when you meet the expectations of women you generally exceed men’s expectations. According to research conducted by companies as diverse as Ford, Merrill Lynch, BMW, Ikea, Best Buy and Jiffy Lube, marketing driven by women’s preferences increases customer satisfaction scores among men as well. So how’s that for focus: one smart solution, two happy customers.

5. For a woman, ‘status’ purchases (luxury items) are less about exclusivity and, in a surprising twist, more about inclusivity. When she buys a Prada purse, she’s not so much saying “I’m better than everyone who can’t afford one,” as “I belong here with the others of my tribe, who can.”

6. Women have a great sense of humor but it differs from men’s. Instead of “laughing at…” they like “laughing with…” Women understand male humor, and it sometimes makes them laugh, but it doesn’t usually make them like you. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

7. Women are more loyal than men. Once a woman has bought from you one time, she wants to buy from you again. Why? First, her decision process is much more painstaking than a man’s. She chooses to invest her effort up front because she doesn’t want to have to ‘re-shop’ all over again next time. Second, in situations involving a personal sales interaction, women weigh the salesperson’s ‘deservingness’ of another sale more than men do. When you work hard for her business, she wants to reward that effort with more business.

If these ‘secrets’ seem like common sense to you, let me let you in on just one more: common sense is very different from common practice. And while marketers may be aware of these ideas, putting them into practice is very rare. But There’s no ‘big data’ to devour, no time-consuming social media infrastructure to establish. Just get smart about your target, and get smarter about your marketing. She will surely reward you for it.


About Marti Barletta

Marti Barletta, founder/CEO, The TrendSight Group, shows you how to get more customers, make more money per customer and keep customers loyal longer – simply by getting smarter about women. Her first book, Marketing to Women, is available in 19 languages, and her latest book, PrimeTime Women, focuses in on the market’s high-spending sweet spot – Boomer women in their mid-life prime.